In the small German town of Herzogenaurach, on November 3, 1900, a boy, Adolf Dassler, appeared in the family of a baker and a laundress. He grew up as a quiet home. After the First World War, devastation and inflation came to the country, Germany was filled with many unemployed, former soldiers. The Dassler family was also going through difficult times. In early 1920, it was decided to put aside odd jobs and open a new family business - shoe making.
They began to develop the idea with the methodology traditional for Germans. The mother's laundry became a shoe shop. The dreamer-inventor Adolf, whose family name was simply Adi, made a machine for dressing skins out of a bicycle. Sisters and mother made patterns from canvas. Adolf himself, along with his father and older brother Rudolph (Rudi), were engaged in sewing.
The first thing that the family released were sleeping slippers. For their manufacture, decommissioned military equipment came in handy, while the soles were cut from old tires. Rudolph took up the marketing of finished products, and Adolph began to establish a growing production and come up with new models. In just a year, the shoes were created by 12 people together with family members. They produced 50 pairs of shoes a day. In June 1924, an official enterprise appeared - the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. I must say that the brothers successfully complemented each other. Rudy was fond of invention, he was a quiet intellectual, although he loved to play football. But Rudy had a more explosive disposition, boxing, jazz and sex were his elements.
By 1925 the company was on its feet, Adi allowed some experimentation. An avid soccer player, he invented the spiked boots that a local blacksmith had made for him. This is how the new sports shoes were born. It turned out to be so comfortable that, together with gymnastic slippers, it became the basis of the Dassler family products. Production grew, and in 1927 an entire building was rented for it. There were already 25 people working there, who produced up to a hundred pairs of shoes a day. Business was going so well that the factory was soon bought out, and the family moved to a nearby mansion, not just a house.
Adi himself finally abandoned his plans to become a baker, now he focused exclusively on creating sports shoes, which he personally tested. At the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, some athletes competed in Dassler studded shoes. After 4 years, the German Arthur Yonath won bronze in it. But the 1936 Berlin Olympics were much more successful. In Dassler shoes, black American Jesse Owen has set five world records and won four gold medals. Since then, "Dassler" began to be considered, albeit unrecognized, but the standard for sports shoes. In 1936, sales of the Dassler factory exceeded DM 400 thousand. Already in 1938, a second plant was opened in the same Herzogenaurach. Production increased to a thousand pairs a day.
By that time, the Dassler brothers were convinced Nazis. With the outbreak of World War II, their factories were confiscated by the state, and they themselves went to the front. But soon Adi was returned - without him the factory simply did not work. After the defeat of Germany, the family business was destroyed - American soldiers lived in the mansion, the factory itself supplied hockey skates to the United States, under the terms of indemnity. To feed the family, Adolf's wife was even forced to take care of the garden and graze the cattle herself. Well, at least a year later Rudy returned from the camp.
I had to start from scratch. From the remnants of military uniforms, a new production was established, the salary was initially given out with firewood and yarn. Difficulties affected the relationship of the brothers - in 1948 they quarreled and divided the company. Rudy took over one factory, calling his firm Ruda, and Adi another, calling his part Addas. A few months later, instead of the well-known brand Dassler, two new ones were finally formed - "Adidas" (from Adi Dassler) and Puma. Until the end of their lives, the brothers did not tell about the reasons for that quarrel, and their companies became bitter competitors. The brothers' enmity even spread to their hometown. Each company had its own football team, the employees drank different beers defiantly, even the children attended different schools. Today, the headquarters of the sports giants are still located in the provincial Herzogenaurach, and some tensions still exist.
After breaking up with Rudy, Adolf became the sole owner of the company. He even slightly violated the agreement - he took two stripes from the family emblem, and added a third to them. This is how the patented Adidas symbol appeared. To prevent his brother from bypassing him, Adi plunges headlong into invention. In 1949 he created the first boot with removable rubber spikes. Next year, football boots for playing on snow and frozen ground. Adi stepped up his ties with the Olympic committees, thanks to which at the 1952 Olympics most athletes wore Adidas shoes. Then Adi decided that he should not limit the range of his company exclusively to shoes. The line of sports bags "Adidas" was launched for the trial. And soon Adi found himself a partner - the owner of a textile factory, Willy Seltenreich. The experience with tracksuits turned out to be successful, since then Adidas began to produce clothes.
The products of "Adidas" became more and more sophisticated and perfect. The German nation was thrilled with the triumph, and the boot manufacturer's role did not go unnoticed. Adi came up with the idea that advertising could be placed directly in stadiums. Already in 1956 in distant Melbourne the whole world saw the posters "Adidas". At the same time, the company begins to spread around the world. First, a factory in Norway began to make products under license, and then the French joined in. The 1960 Olympics in Rome was the “golden age” for the brand. Most athletes focused on him. At the Olympics in Mexico City in 1968, equipped "Adidas" athletes win over a hundred medals. In 1972, the company becomes the title sponsor of the Munich Olympics, the German national team wins the continental championship.
At the same time, "Adidas" begins international expansion in production - Adi signs the first license agreement with the Norwegian factory in Gyorvik, soon "Adidas" begins to be produced in France. The "golden age" is coming "Adidas" - at the Olympics in Rome in 1960, most athletes rely on Adidas sports shoes. Wilma Rudolph wins three gold medals in the sprint, despite having polio as a child, about the same thing happens four years later in Tokyo, and in 1968 in Mexico City, Adidas equipped athletes win 37 gold, 35 silver and 35 bronze medals. In 1972 "Adidas" became the title sponsor of the Olympic Games in Munich, and the FRG national team became the European Football Champion. Two years later, German footballers become world champions for the second time - and again in Adidas. The 1976 Olympics became the peak of the manufacturer's fame. 75 gold, 86 silver and 88 bronze medals were won in Adidas equipment - an unbeatable record.
In 1978, Adolf Dassler died, handing over the management of the company to his widow, Katharina. She has long been involved in the main administrative work at Adidas. After the woman's death in 1984, the company passed to the son of Adi and Katarina, Horst Dassler. He did not have time to carry out the planned changes, dying early. The heirs of the family sold Adidas to French businessman Bernard Tapie in 1989 for 440 million marks.
Suddenly, the world was changing rapidly. Adidas was perceived as something outdated and boring. In the 1990s, the company's losses reached $ 100 million, it was crowded by much more energetic and ambitious competitors - Nike and Reebok. However, no one thought to throw away the legacy of "Adidas", since 1993 a new team of specialists has taken up the revival of the glorious company. Several key managers and designers were taken away from the competitors. Production was moved outside Germany - labor in China, Thailand and Indonesia is much cheaper. This made Adidas products competitive again. In addition, it was decided to switch from professional sports to the mass market. "Adidas" refused to cooperate with retail, starting to form its own branded sales network. The results showed themselves already by 1996. The company became the general sponsor of the Atlanta Olympics, which allowed sales to grow 50% per year. In addition, the company has taken a solid place in the American market.
Today, Adidas managers sponsor new sports and youth movements. "Adidas" is represented on the market by a large assortment - from the very boots and ending with sportswear. After acquiring the French company Salomon in 1997, Adidas has become the world's second largest manufacturer of sporting goods. Today the company employs about 14 thousand people. Annual sales of 6.2 billion euros and profits of 260 million.